No. 328 - St Kieran's Catholic Church at Bracknell

St Kieran’s at Bracknell was a short-lived church that appears to have only existed for about a decade. St Kieran’s exact location in Bracknell and the reason for its closure so soon after its establishment are not known.

In the late 1890’s there are several newspaper reports of fundraising activities for a Catholic church at Bracknell. By 1899 a church was constructed and (although incomplete) was opened in July of that year. The Bracknell correspondent for the Launceston Examiner described the opening:

“The event so much talked of in Bracknell for the last few months came off on Sunday, for the attractive little church of St. Kyran [sic] was solemnly blessed and opened for divine service by the Bishop of Laranda.* On the day after the blessing of the church the Rev. Thomas Higgins celebrated mass, at which a large congregation, principally from Westbury and Bracknell, attended. The choir of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Westbury, was fully in evidence on the occasion, and the members rendered the task entrusted to them with remarkable accuracy and feeling.

After mass the Bishop preached a sermon suitable to the occasion, and congratulated the people of Bracknell on having such a beautiful little church in their midst. After the Bishop's sermon Archdeacon Hogan thanked his Lordship for having come so far at that season of the year to bless and open, the church. He thanked the members of the congregation for their presence and assistance on the occasion; also thanked Miss Masters for the loan of her organ, and those who assisted to clear and improve the ground. A collection was made which amounted to £29 6s 10d. Beautiful weather prevailed throughout, and everything passed off in a most satisfactory manner. A nice altar was made and painted by Louis Jordan, one of the ex-pupils of the Convent school at Westbury, and it was much admired by the congregation. The land on which the church was built, an acre and a half, was presented by the late Mr. William Field to Father Hogan for church purposes.

After morning service most of the members of the congregation repaired to Mr. Lyons's house, where they were entertained hospitably… Evening-prayers, consisting of rosary and benediction, were well attended and Bishop Delany preached an eloquent sermon”.

St Kieran’s was dedicated exactly a year later. A report in the Daily Telegraph provides additional details about the church:

“St. Kieran’s Catholic church in this township was opened for divine service in July last year by Bishop Delany, assisted by the late Archdeacon Hogan, but it was then in an unfinished state. The contractor, Mr Thompson, of Launceston, has since lined the edifice throughout with seasoned blackwood, the dado being of the best blackwood, and the whole varnished. A vestry has also been added, which is equally complete in every detail.  Sunday last, September 9, and feast of the patron, was fixed for the dedication of the church….Mass was chanted by Rev. Thos. Kelsh of Westbury, the choir of the Catholic church of that town rendering Farmer’s music very effectively… The large congregation present included many visitors from Westbury, who were afterwards hospitably entertained at luncheon by Mr and Mrs Lyons, well-known and respected inhabitants of this township. In the afternoon at 4 o’ clock another service was held…. Father Kelsh, in thanking the congregation for their generous offering of £9 6s, which will help to liquidate the debt on the building…”

There are several reverences to St Kieran’s in the Tasmanian press in the decade after its establishment. The last reference to it appears in the Daily Telegraph in November 1908, after which it disappears from the record.

* Bishop Patrick Delany was coadjutor bishop of Hobart and was consecrated titular bishop of Laranda on 10 December 1893. Over the next fourteen years he assisted Archbishop Daniel Murphy.

St Kieran's Catholic Church (The Tasmanian Mail)

Bracknell's churches (Tasmanian Mail) HD photograph HERE


Launceston examiner, Monday 26 June 1899, page 3
Launceston Examiner, Saturday 15 July 1899, page 9
Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 11 September 1900, page 4
The Mercury, Thursday 31 January 1901, page 4
Daily Telegraph, Monday 23 November 1903, page 6
Daily Telegraph, Saturday 30 January 1904, page 9
Tasmanian Mail, Saturday 26 January 1907, page 20
Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 10 November 1908, page 3


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